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Workers renovating Sarinah building last year found a relief from Sukarno’s era, 3 x 12 meters in size, hidden in the building’s electrical room. The relief depicts the atmosphere of the old market: women in traditional kebaya strolling the market and men in conical hats carrying wares. Records of the relief could not be found, leading to speculation from enthusiasts and experts regarding the origin of the relief and how it was abandoned in the building's generator room. Was the relief deliberately hidden by the New Order because it was deemed 'leftist' or did someone decide the depictions of the relief did not fit with the more modernized Sarinah?
Tempo interviewed children of famous artists from the 1960s to explore the possibilities of who made the relief. Tempo also interviewed the minister of manpower during the New Order era, Abdul Latief, who was an employee at Sarinah at the beginning of its establishment.
Land of the Rakyat Penunggu customary community in the Langkat Regency of North Sumatra was taken over for the sugar self-sufficiency project carried out by Perkebunan Nusantara II. Residents were intimidated and promised lands and employment in order to go along with the plan.
Some major infrastructure development plans of President Joko Widodo, as described in over a dozen Strategic National Projects in several provinces, have been accused of leading to some human rights violations. Land conflicts could have been avoided if the government did not place the economic agenda above the fundamental rights of the populace.
President Joko Widodo once again received the red card from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) for failing to live up to his human rights commitments.
NUTMEG, the main commodity of the Banda Naira islands, had its heyday in the 16th century. The Dutch, through the Dutch East-Indies Company (VOC), even sent 37 perkeniers (plantation owners) from the Netherlands to Banda to manage the plantations, in order to cover the nutmeg monopoly supply for Europe’s market. Only one descendant remains of the 16th-century perkeniers: Pongky Erwandi van den Broeke, who manages 12.5 hectares of land. He was the victim of unrest in 1999.
For over three decades, the tradition of planting upland rice had disappeared in the villages of Samo, Posi-Posi, and Gumira, all located on the outer edges of Halmahera Island in North Maluku. The people of those three villages prefer to buy rice to be consumed as a variation rather than take the effort to grow it themselves. Some left this practice after going to work for a lumber company which cut down forests in their area, and they began using their daily wages to purchase rice. Others initially stopped farming rice to raise funds to rebuild a mosque which had collapsed in their community. The PakaTiva Association, with the support of the EcoNusa Foundation, has been working to revive this tradition, not only for local food self-sufficiency, but also for the purpose of maintaining the forest. Tempo joined the Maluku Expedition, an activity organized by the EcoNusa Foundation, which among other things visited those three areas.
Departing from Rotterdam in the Netherlands on August 23, 2019, the crew of the Arka Kinari ship finally anchored in Indonesia on September 1 this year. On the ship were the artist couple Nova Ruth Setyaningtyas and Grey Filastine, and six international crew members. On this low-carbon journey, they visited a number of countries and gave mini concerts on board. Their expedition faced numerous challenges, from storms, the coronavirus pandemic, to permit processing that left them in limbo on the open sea. In addition to campaigning for the environment, the Arka Kinari crew was involved in the Spice Route movement proclaimed by the education and culture ministry’s directorate-general for culture. This made them change their sailing route onto a number of spice locations: Sorong (West Papua), Banda Neira (Maluku), Selayar and Makassar (South Sulawesi), Benoa (Bali), and Surabaya (East Java).
The arrest of Effendi Buhing, chief of the Laman Kinipan Customary Community, in late August has brought the name Tariu Borneo Bangkule Rajangk to the fore. A militia group named Pasukan Merah (the Red Brigade) has come forward to defend this traditional leader in Lamandau, Central Kalimantan. Red Brigade Chief Pangalangok Jilah claims that he has some 50,000 members spread all over the island of Kalimantan, including in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. While it used to be active in preserving Dayak customs and culture, the Red Brigade now also focuses on advocacy for its members who are entangled with the law. Tempo reports from Bukit Raya Toho, Mempawah Regency, West Kalimantan, one of the customary forests under the care of the Red Brigade.
In colonial times, the fight for independence was also driven by native doctors who graduated from the School tot Opleiding van Indische Artsen (STOVIA).
Indonesia faced several epidemics during the Dutch East Indies era. From outbreaks of cholera and pestilence in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in the early of the 20th century up until the impact of the Spanish Flu. Those pandemics resembled the current situation. After a late response to the outbreak, the colonial government finally enacted a regional quarantine. Many things can be learned from past epidemics. Mitigation strategies, appropriate isolation measures, and rapid responses are needed.